There are a variety of grants out there and it is often hard to pin down exactly what’s what. They all have different priorities and have different deadlines and application windows, so it’s important to keep checking to see if there is one that might suit you.

We’ve come up with a short guide to the most relevant ones to give you a bit of a head start if you are looking to see what’s available.
It’s worth saying that this isn’t a complete list, there are often local or short terms schemes that open up from time to time so do keep an eye out.

Basic Payment Scheme

The main subsidy scheme will be largely the same as last year, with the real changes set to kick in for 2021 and beyond. The deadline for the submission of your application is 15th May 2020 but make sure you get your entitlement transfers and any land changes done before then to avoid any last-minute headaches.

Countryside Stewardship: Higher Tier

Countryside Stewardship (CS) provides financial incentives for farmers and land managers to look after their environment. This is mainly done by funding the conservation and restoration of wildlife habitats; flood risk management; woodland creation and management; reducing widespread water pollution from agriculture; keeping the character of the countryside; preserving historical features in the landscape and encouraging educational access.
Higher Tier covers the more environmentally significant sites so won’t suit everyone. The options, supplements and capital items available are more complex than Mid Tier due to the needs of these sites. Application packs can be requested online via the Rural Payments service until 31st March. The application deadline is 1st May 2020.

Countryside Stewardship: Mid Tier

Mid-Tier offers options, supplements and capital items to achieve simple and hopefully effective environmental benefits. There is a reduced list of management options but it is open to all, regardless of how environmentally significant your land is. Although you will still need to draw up an application carefully to maximise your chance of getting an agreement. Application packs can be downloaded via the Rural Payments service (up to 30th June 2020) or a paper application pack can be requested (by 31st May 2020). The application deadline is 31st July 2020.

Countryside Stewardship: Water Capital Grant

Capital payments for improving water quality in high priority areas are also available through Mid Tier. Some capital items require written support from a Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer (CSFO) as part of the evidence requirement. CSFO’s also offer a pre-application visit to aid in your application.
These capital-only agreements last for 2 years and have a maximum value of £10,000. Dates and deadlines are as per Mid Tier above.

Countryside Stewardship: Wildlife Offers (Arable, grassland and mixed farming)

The Wildlife Offers are designed to be quicker and simpler to apply for than Mid-Tier or Higher-Tier. They are not scored or ranked, so you are guaranteed an agreement if you made a valid application. They can be applied for online on the Rural Payments service (paper application packs can be requested until 31st May). The application deadline is 31st July 2020.

Countryside Stewardship: Hedges and Boundaries

A stand alone capital grant scheme for works to hedges and boundaries. The payments rates are reasonable without being generous. You probably won’t be able to make a profit on the work required, but if you are thinking of doing the work anyway then why not take advantage. The maximum grant is £10,000.  They can be applied for online using the Rural Payments service. The application deadline is 1st May 2020.

Countryside Productivity Scheme

The Countryside Productivity Scheme provides funding for projects which improve productivity in the farming and forestry sectors and help create jobs and growth in the rural economy.  There are grants for: small grants (see below), water resource management and reservoirs, improving forestry productivity, adding value to Agri-food and improving farm productivity. This scheme is currently closed but it is hoped that it will open up again in the near future.

Countryside Productivity Small Grants Scheme

The scheme is designed to provided funding for farmers to purchase equipment to improve the productivity of their farm. The scheme uses an online application and is targeted at supporting investment for specific pieces of agricultural equipment. This scheme is currently closed as they deal with the claims for round 2 but should open again for round 3 in the autumn.

Farming Recovery Fund

This grant scheme is only available in this region in a very restricted area of the Avon floodplain downstream of Evesham so only covers a very small part of Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. It is targeted at those who experienced significant flooding during November 2019 to provide funding towards the costs of reinstating and repairing the affected agricultural land. There is a comprehensive list of different activities covered, some with fixed payments, but others depending on the exact nature of the work required. The scheme for the Avon closes on 31st July 2020.

Growth Programme

The Business Development, Food Processing and Rural Tourism Infrastructure grants are now open to new applications. The deadline for submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) form is/was midnight on 16th February 2020. You could be eligible for a Growth Programme grant if your business is carrying out a project to create jobs or bring more money into the rural economy. The threshold for minimum grants has been lowered from £35,000 to £20,000, meaning that more projects could now be eligible. If the Rural Payments Agency considers the project to be eligible, you will then be invited to submit a full application.

If you would like any advice on the matter above, please do not hesitate to get in touch – 01684 325215 / 07814 033449